Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final installment in a series regarding my decision to home school my three children. Here are the links to the introduction, part 1 , part 2 and part 3
I confess that my decision to home school is not a simple matter of numbers and research. I understand that there are intangible concerns that can’t be researched and reconciled away. These concerns start with, “aren’t you worried that your kids will drive you crazy?” and the simple answer to that question is “yes, yes I do.” I worry about implementing discipline in the classroom. I worry that Lucy and Max won’t create an octagon of sibling rivalry where they act out every sinister impulse they have ever had towards each other. However, I feel comforted that these obstacles will be overcome with a little bit of effort.
1.) Time. The nice thing about not having 18 students, but only having 2, is that I can complete my school day in about 4-5 hours versus the 7-8 the school requires. This means the kids and I will be in the same room together for a short period of time. This gives us more time for activities outside of the house like music lessons, gymnastics classes, bike rides, field trips, etc.
2.) Experience. I’ve spoken with several home school families and I’ve read several books and they all say the same thing, which is that the first 3-4 months are an adjustment but the kids actually become calmer and more obedient. This occurs because your kids are getting the constant reinforcement FROM YOU regarding what kind of behavior you expect from them. Since children are naturally programmed to want to please their parents they pretty quickly fall into line. The other reason is that they don’t have the constant stimuli and distractions of 17 other 9 year old children. The best book I read regarding these issues was “So You’re Thinking About Home School” by Lisa Whelchel (and yes, it is that Lisa from “Facts of Life”). The book is a collection of essays written from different families who made the decision. If you are thinking of home school, I would definitely start by finding and talking to other families who have made this choice already.
3.) I Actually Like My Kids. One of the benefits of being an older mom is the greater awareness of the fleeting nature of time. I only have seven years left with Lucy. SEVEN YEARS. I have fifteen with Harper. I have already lived 15 years almost three times over. That is nothing and the idea that I will be spending more of that time with my kids instead of them being some place else is appealing to me. The truth is I will be an old grandma and I probably won’t even be around for great grandchildren and so I need to suck all the fun and joy out of my own children’s childhoods. I won’t have a second chance to do this.
In the end this is a very personal decision (like any other parenting choice). Right now I feel that this is the best place for my kids. Will I feel the same way in two years or three years or five years? I have no idea. For those who want to learn more I’m providing you a list of links to some of the resources I have utilized to make this decision.
The Texas Home School Coalition – this is the Christian lobbying organization for home school families in Texas.
“The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child” by Linda Dobson – I loved this book and it was a great guide to what to expect that first year and how to prepare for it.
Penelope Trunk Blog – Penelope Trunk is a career blogger, but she also home schools her two boys. She also has Aspergers. I like Penelope because she is very steeped in current research and like me, does little without first consulting the experts. Be warned, this is not some warm fuzzy religious high moral home school blog.
SAIL – the Collin County Home School Co-op
PEACH – Plano Christian Home School Co-op
And of course, I must acknowledge the great support I have received both from David’s family and my own. This is a controversial decision. For many people it is difficult to understand why I would do something that seems so drastic. Hopefully this series of blog posts makes my thinking a bit easier to understand. If you still don’t agree – well, that is okay. We can totally still be friends.